Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Joy Comes In The Morning

“Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” Psalm 30:5b NKJV 

In the midst of mourning, you often can’t fathom how joy could possibly interrupt your grief. Back in January, we lost our beautiful Aussie to cancer. When my husband mentioned another dog, my son Josh and I vehemently opposed the idea. There was no room in our hearts for any dog except Dixie—and she was gone. A few months later, Josh mentioned if he ever got another dog, it’d be a black Lab. But he wanted to be working and settled in his own place before that happened. He was in no hurry to open his heart, nor commit himself, to caring for another pet.

Then early one Friday morning a few weeks ago, after a night of storms, Josh was relaxing on the couch in front of the TV. As a volunteer firefighter, he’d spent three hours during the night cutting up downed trees in our district. Suddenly, he heard a whimper and went to the front door to investigate.

“It’s a puppy!” He yanked open the door and ran down the sidewalk and around the corner to the garage where he’d seen it disappear.

Our garage was opened about a foot because, for some silly reason, wildlife have decided to adopt our garage as a nature conservatory. Unbeknownst to us until it was too late, a bird built a nest in one of Josh’s dirt-bike helmets, laid her eggs, and hatched them. So we couldn’t close the garage completely until the babies were ready to leave the nest. We won’t discuss the huge black snake who decided to visit, as well. J

Wet, shaken, and trying to bark like a dog ten times her size, the little black puppy finally allowed Josh to scoop her up. Her bark became a whimper as he cradled her in a towel and rubbed her dry. We fed and watered her and then discussed what to do.

I cautioned him not to become attached to her. “She looks like a purebred Lab, so she probably wasn’t dumped. She must live nearby because she’s too small to have walked far. Her owner will miss her.”

Josh agreed then loaded her in his truck to take her to our vet to see if she’d been chipped. She hadn’t.

He made fliers to put up in the neighborhood. He admitted he hoped the owners wouldn’t show. After all, what if her owner turned out to be a big, burly guy who treated her rough? (So much for my cautioning him not to fall for her. J) She was cute and wanted to be right where Josh was all the time.

By mid-afternoon the owner called, delighted and relieved her puppy was safe. Josh was disappointed, but he knew the angst of having a pet wander off. Dixie had done it more than once. He always said he didn’t want someone just taking her home without attempting to find her owners.

Before the owner came that afternoon, Josh tried not to show his disappointment and hugged the puppy good-bye. He said, “She’s reminded me of the joy of having a dog.”

The dog’s owner works at a local church. She and her boss had prayed that morning the puppy would be found by someone kind and gentle who would care for her. I jokingly said, “Yeah, Josh prayed the owner wouldn’t turn up.”

But we explained how we knew the right thing to do was to try to find her owners. During the conversation, we learned she was one of a litter of puppies that were actually Lab and German shepherd mix. The owner had given away the others but decided to keep the little pup because she was so cute.

The lady appreciated Josh’s honesty and willingness to do the right thing and said she might be willing to give the puppy to Josh. We all agreed to pray about what the best thing would be for all of us.  

A week later, she called and offered the dog to Josh. I can’t say it’s been easy dealing with a puppy after having a mature, well-behaved dog like Dixie, but Josh is thrilled to have her. I’m thrilled to see his joy after such a hard loss five months ago. We still miss Dixie terribly, but little Macy has taught us that despite our grief, joy did come in the morning!

If you’re experiencing grief or dealing with a tough life situation, please know I’m lifting you up in prayer today. If you have a specific request, please leave a comment or e-mail me confidential requests. I’d be glad to pray for you! J

Have you ever experienced an unexpected joy? I’d love to hear about it!


© Laura Hodges Poole

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Watch, O Lord

Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth! Psalm 46:10 NKJV

When I logged onto Bible Gateway yesterday afternoon and read this verse, it was like a balm of Gilead to my soul, mind, and body. As I embraced just being still, I felt God's comfort and peace wash over me. 

The past few weeks have been rather challenging as I prepare for my final exam in medical coding, while keeping up with homework, my transcription work and writing, and battling pain in my upper back and shoulders. No matter what I do, nothing eases it. The only real solution would be to step away from the books and computer for a good rest. Ha! It’ll be a while before that can happen.

I had another blog post I planned to share, but since it’s not finished, and my three-hour final exam is tonight, the less time I spend on the computer, the better. So, instead, I’ll share this prayer from St. Augustine and hope it will bless you as you read it or add it to your own prayers today.

I’m not a rote prayer kind of person, but this particular one touched me where I needed it this week. And, I always enjoy learning from the saints of past centuries. Just like with the old hymns, there is much theology and divine inspiration in such prayers.

Watch, O Lord, with those who wake, or watch, or weep tonight, and give your angels charge over those who sleep. Tend your sick ones, O Lord Christ. Rest your weary ones. Bless your dying ones. Soothe your suffering ones. Pity your afflicted ones. Shield your joyous ones. And for all your love's sake. Amen. ( 
If you have a prayer need, I’d love to pray for you. Leave a comment or e-mail me your confidential requests. 

One young mother we’ve prayed for during the past three years has been Courtney, who’s battled a cancerous brain tumor. After her last MRI six weeks ago, the doctors discontinued the final chemo she’d been on. Last week was her first recheck since then.

From her Caring Bridge site: The first words out of Courtney's neuro-oncologist were, "God is so good!" She said her MRI looked awesome and everything is stable! She gave Courtney a big hug along with some of the other medical team…We will now resume the every eight week MRI's with our next appointment at the end of July. Someday, we hope the appointments can be spaced out even more, but for now, we are so thankful the fine doctors and medical staff are watching her so closely and will address anything as quickly as possible should it be necessary to do so…The thoughts and prayers from all of you are so important to us as we make these frequent trips.  Each visit can be life changing and knowing that others wish her well and pray for continued healing, is so comforting to us.  The smiles continue and for that, we are so grateful.

The only thing I can add is “Praise God!”

Do you have a favorite prayer or Bible verse you’d like to share? How has it encouraged you during sickness or through trials?

God bless,

©Laura Hodges Poole

Available for FREE Kindle download today only:

“The Precipice: When Everything We Know Ends” is a collection of short stories with futuristic settings, though most are plausible in our current world situation. Following each short story is a list of discussion questions to help the reader explore their own belief system. This book would make a great small group or Bible study resource.